By VAL OLSON
Bonner General Hospital
When Bonner General Hospital first installed its interactive video system three years ago, there were feelings of futuristic business meetings and educational seminars. Our physicians could attend an educational program at Kootenai Medical Center merely by turning on the monitors and dialing the bridge that links North Idaho hospitals and area schools.
While business meetings and continuing education will always be the mainstays of interactive video conferencing, there are occasions when this technology has a very personal touch.
For three weeks now, Marvin Kammeyer has been visiting his wife, Kathleen, via the interactive equipment. Sacred Heart Medical Center sets up an appointment with the Education Department at Bonner General Hospital.
This appointment is a standing Friday afternoon date between the interactive rooms of Bonner General Hospital and Sacred Heart Medical Center, so that husband and wife can visit with each other.
Kathleen has been a patient at Sacred Heart for over a month. While Marvin does drive to Spokane once a week to visit his wife, they have a need to see each other more often. For Kathleen, it calms her anxieties to be able to visit with her husband, and will hopefully, speed her healing process.
Marvin arrives promptly for his afternoon appointment with the interactive equipment. The equipment is powered on and ready to receive the call from Sacred Heart Medical Center.
After waiting a few minutes, Kathleen and her nurse appear on the monitor. While they may be miles apart, theyıre able to see each other and chat. Marvin keeps her informed as to the details at home and continues to reassure his wife throughout the course of her long hospital stay.
Itıs difficult enough to have a devoted mate in the throes of illness, and itıs especially hard when you have to drive long distances and spend hours away from the obligations of home.
The Kammeyers have been married for 59 years and they have always had a very close relationship. They look forward to their visits whether itıs in person or via a television monitor.
Sometimes we look at technology and lament about its coldness. But, it warms the heart when you a devoted couple continue to nurture each other with the touch of a television monitor. Itıs almost as good as a personal visit, minus the human touch.
On the healing side of things, Kathleen goes back to her patient room with a smile on her face and a renewed tie with her home. Marvin leaves with the quiet reassurance that his wife is slowly recovering and he has played an important role in speeding her healing process.
Patient care comes in all kinds of guises. The clinical side of things are always part of the routine, but itıs the special touches of human connection that leave little separation of mind and body. Itıs the nurse by her side when Mrs. Kammeyer is visiting her husband via the television.
Itıs the technician who sets up the equipment for the call and makes it happen. And, itıs the people who are farsighted enough to see how technology can make things happen like a long distance visit between hospitals that are miles apart. Itıs an old-fashioned meeting of people with the use of new-age technology.